Monday, November 23, 2009
A Whirlwind in November: Giving Thanks for a Great Holiday
I am not quite sure what my best memory from this weekend's Thanksgiving celebration is. Probably laughing until I cried, sitting on the floor with my friends during the post-Thanksgiving meal haze, convinced that I would explode from hilarity on top of dinner. Or perhaps a certain someone cutting her pubes in my kitchen and saving them in a plastic bag (still sitting on my desk) to prank someone with. Maybe even playing an international game of kickball in the snow as a cooking break; it was fun even though the girls were solidly trounced by the boys. I suppose the bottom line is that last weekend was the best I could have hoped for. Laura, a girl who is one of my best friend in Peace Corps and works in the closest big town, came in early with her friend Brad, who is on vacation but lives in Erdenet, and they stayed at my apartment at various points. Laura and I decided that we've reached new heights in our friendship, resulting from chats in the shower, sharing underwear (she forgot to pack any and needed a good lookin' pair) and multiple cooking marathons including more dish washing than the good Lord and my tiny kitchen sink ever intended. It's nice to have a friend you feel totally comfortable with. Scott and Ashley, a married couple, and another volunteer Matt also came down from Olgii for Thanksgiving so in addition to the 2 Swiss and 3 Koreans, we had quite a crowd for the holiday (I think in total 20 people). I was able to get off work Thursday and Friday so I got to help cook, sleep later and hang out. The whole weekend sort of blurred together, even now I can't differentiate one day from the next. We kicked things off with a Mexican night at my apartment on Tuesday and after that all I know is that there was ample Sex in the City, girl talk, general debauchery and on Friday 6 pies, corn casserole, cranberry sauce, 2 loaves of apple bread, 3 loaves of pumpkin bread and enough biscuits to feed a State Fair were cranked out of my kitchen. We had a massive Thanksgiving spread on Saturday including items ranging from the usual stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy and green bean casserole, to the not-so-traditional horse meat stir fry, flan and 12 bean chili. Not surprisingly there was no turkey, but the Peace Corps Volunteers who used to be in Hovd and are now serving their third year in the capitol sent two chickens out to us! During the meal we listened to Laura read a kid's book about a plump and perky turkey and then went around the room telling each other what we're thankful for. I said I was thankful for my health and the love around me (implying the love I carry with me from home and the company at present). We sat around for hours after the feast, talking, laughing and playing games (including charades- thank God I finally get to use that theater degree!- and a snorting contest of sorts) while countless bottles of wine disappeared. Thanksgiving sprawled into Sunday when many of us reconvened at Mona's apartment for leftovers, more games and "The Muppet Christmas Carol." It was strange to have a full day of work today, as the swine flu shutdown has been lifted, and come home to a reasonably clean house. But Thanksgiving 2.0 is on Wednesday at my apartment and this time it's with all of our Mongolian and Kazakh friends. Also, In Service Training in December is getting closer and for that we'll all be flown to UB where I'll spend another blur of a holiday laughing with friends.